Overview

The Guildhall Museum was built in 1687 and is one of the finest 17th century civic buildings in Kent.

The museum has a collection that follows a timeline through Medway's history.

Highlights of the museum include:

  • the River Medway themed introductory gallery, sales point and reception area
  • the ornate 17th century Guildhall Chamber featured in Dickens’s novel Great Expectations
  • the incredible hulks - a reconstruction over 3 levels, of a 19th century Medway prison hulk
  • displays of Medway’s civic silver
  • a 200,000 year old axe that visitors can touch
  • a wide range of domestic artefacts from Darenth Roman villa
  • the most complete set of 18th century cabinet maker's tools in the world
  • a model of Rochester Castle under siege
  • a large selection of paintings and prints of the area
  • The Seaton Tool Chest – the most complete example of an 18th century tool chest in the World
  • new permanent Dickens Exhibition coming soon in 2020
  • The Medway Room with Medway tug virtual river tour (opening April 2020)

Learning sessions

We offer booked group learning sessions at the museum. 

Museum objects can be used as a focus for the study of:

  • social history
  • art
  • science and technology
  • natural history
  • costume history
  • inspiring creative work

These sessions must be planned and booked in advance. 

We also offer an outreach service to schools and community groups within Medway. We can arrange learning sessions if resources in the museum collection support the theme required.

Contact us for more details, fees and charges. You can find our contact details further down the page.

Object identification service

The curatorial staff offer a free object identification service. You will need to make an appointment to have an object identified. We are not able to value objects. 

General enquiry service

We can answer general enquiries about objects in the museum collection or the history of objects.

If you have a more detailed enquiry or need to view documents such as photographs, newspapers or census returns, contact Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

Visitor needs

We offer the following services and facilities for visitors: 

  • pram and pushchair storage
  • quiz sheets
  • souvenirs
  • public toilets
  • an induction loop
  • text in refurbished galleries is reproduced in a large point size for visitors with visual impairments
  • colour contrasting is used where possible
  • object handling sessions for people with mobility issues and wheelchair users
  • object handling sessions for visitors with a visual impairment
  • we can arrange bespoke object focussed sessions to meet a range of different needs, requirements and learning outcomes
  • printed learning resources on the history of Medway are available for use in the classroom (10-14 age group)
  • a designated room (The Members’ Room) for object focussed learning sessions
  • staff on site to help visitors

Weddings and room hire

The ornate 17th century Guildhall Chamber is licensed for weddings and other civil ceremonies.

Find out about weddings at The Guildhall Museum

Contact Details

Plan your visit

Contact us if you need help arranging your visit.

Phone: 01634 332 680

Email: guildhall.museum@medway.gov.uk

Website: www.visitmedway.org

Large groups

Groups must book their visit in advance. This will stop the building from getting overcrowded.

Contact us to book a self guiding group visit with the following details:

  • date of visit
  • number of people in your group or party
  • age range of group
  • planned arrival time
  • contact name and phone number of group organiser
  • any other special requirements

Access

The Guildhall Museum is Grade 1 listed and has complicated layouts with lots of stairs and level changes. It's not possible to make changes to the building or to install lifts.

There is restricted access for visitors with mobility difficulties in the greater part of the building.

The following ares are accessible to wheelchair users: 

  • the main high street entrance to the museum
  • the river themed introductory gallery
  • museum sales point
  • the lower hulks deck

Assistance dogs

We allow assistance dogs in the museum if accompanied by their owner. No other dogs or pets are allowed on site.

Your safety

We have an up to date wireless fire and smoke detection system and our staff are trained to evacuate visitors in an emergency situation.

We have a high level security system, this keeps our visitors, buildings and exhibits safe. All visitors are recorded on CCTV whilst on site.

Smoking is not allowed in the building or close to the entrance.

View objects

If you would like to view objects that are not on display, contact us to book an appointment. 

You can view 20,000 of the objects held at the Guildhall Museum on Adlib.

Getting here

The museum is located at the river end of Rochester High Street and is a short walk from Rochester and Strood train stations.
 
Find train routes and timetables on Southeastern Railway
Opening Times
The Guildhall Museum will re-open on Tuesday 7 July

Opening hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10am to 5pm
Wednesday: 10am to 5pm
Thursday: 10am to 5pm
Friday: 10am to 5pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm
Sunday: 10am to 5pm
Location
High Street
Rochester
Kent
ME1 1PY
Map